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Yes, You're Allowed to Feel Upset About Your Illness

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The other day I started bawling my eyes out while in a state of horrible anxiety, and my partner said to me, “Cheer up.”

I said in response, “I’m allowed to feel upset for a little while, no?”

He paused to consider it before saying, “Yes, of course you are.”

We are the microwave generation, and live in a high-speed, instant gratification society. The idea of “dwelling upon” can be a foreign concept for some people. As a person with chronic illness, we spend much of our time fighting, weeping, exhausted and in pain. It is this 80 percent of our lives that I would like to explore today. You could say, let’s take a little break from finding closures or solutions. After all, the no-man’s land of everyday life is where we spend most of our time.

Are you upset? Then just be.

Sometimes you feel awful for no good reason, or perhaps you have just received some bad news, and you know what? Yes, you’re allowed to feel upset about it, to feel melancholic, tired and defeated. It doesn’t help when others around you mumble some casual sympathy. Or worse yet, start sending random articles in an attempt to fix your feeling — you are not a mechanical product.

Pretending otherwise makes it worse.

In fact, it just piles onto the misery, because it invalidates our capacity to feel as a human being. It downplays the severity of the underlying issue. It exacerbates the assumption that you couldn’t possibly care that much. How could you, with such flippant, insensitive remarks? Sometimes darkness is able to provide cool comfort for a little while, and the last thing you need is the blinding light of the sun scorching down on your face.

Do what you need to move on, your way.

It’s OK to cry. To be in pain. To be not OK. Reach out and touch that raw nerve of fear. Feel its heavy weight in the palm of your hand. Spend time studying its ugly nature. How else are we truly going to defeat something we refuse to examine? We often drown ourselves with distraction, sometimes using positivity as an excuse to hide and at other times using social noise to override internal dissonance. But we are human beings blessed and cursed with the capacity to feel. We own the ability to experience a mind-blowing spectrum of emotions. Each comes and goes in good time, and balance is always healthy.

So ignore the naysayers who tell you what and how you should feel. If it helps you make it through, wake up and see the sun rise again tomorrow, how can it be that bad of a thing?

“There are days you’re going to feel sad. You’re going to feel angry. You’re going to feel scared. That’s nothing you can choose. But you can make stuff…” – Peter Docter, director of “Inside Out”

The original post and other stories can be found at A Chronic Voice.

Originally published: August 5, 2016
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